Sometimes in order to get the help you need, you must let someone know you need it. As easy a task as that sounds, it can be much more difficult to carry out.
Sometimes your pride might get in the way. If you are accustomed to having things all together and being the one everyone looks to when there is business to handle or a crisis to manage, then it might be especially difficult for you to let anyone know when you are a having a tough time yourself.
Sometimes being the problem solver, the hard worker, or the "smart one" can be unintentional masks that conceal our imperfections and imperfect moments. Sometimes we can wear titles, those self-proclaimed, or those projected upon us, so adamantly that we do not allow ourselves permission to be human. In this way, these titles sort of cause us to want to hide those times when we can't figure it out, or when we can't get it all finished, or when we make a not so smart decision.
Being vulnerable is a scary feeling. The idea of other people, especially those whose opinions about us we value, thinking any less of us for having human moments can be very uncomfortable to say the least. This fear of being judged or ridiculed perpetuates the hiding. We all want to be at our best all of the time, but we cannot-not always. When we are not at our best or perhaps have some issues going on that others might frown upon, we cannot let pride or fear keep us from getting the help we might need.
Getting help often calls for us to be a little transparent, and yes, that means being a little vulnerable. Otherwise, people may never know, and while this may protect our various images, it can be exhausting and even self-destructing to keep wearing the masks.
I not suggesting that just anyone needs to know the details of your situation or circumstance, but you have got to shed a few layers with someone before it is too late. You might find that those whose opinions you were worried about are people too.
If you are having trouble at work due to some of the things you've got going on, and this is unlike you, then you need to say something. In this way, you are being proactive and you can still solve the problem. If you are having trouble paying the bills, and you've never been in that situation before, then you need to say something. That is how you can keep it together. It is okay that you did not pass that entrance exam or that licensure exam on the first try. Talk to someone who has passed and get help. You are no less smart.
We cannot always live up to everyone's expectations of us. Sometimes we cannot live up to our expectations of ourselves because they are too rigid and do not allow room for a balanced life. I continue to remind myself of this. I have discovered that through our own transparency, others might be able to see themselves and thus, get the help they might need also.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.